Is Eating & Drinking Raw Eggs Healthy and Safe?

Updated on May 14th, 2020
Are raw eggs good for you

Raw eggs are linked to many health risks. The most pressing concern regarding the consumption of raw eggs is that they have a chance of being contaminated with bacteria. Although the possibility of that occurring is relatively slim, it is still a cause of concern. The most common bacteria found in eggs is salmonella, which causes food poisoning, leading to adverse effects like diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and headache. Because of this, doctors and nutritionists recommend cooking eggs before consumption. 

Eating Raw Eggs

Eating raw eggs comes with risks, and the truth remains that you can receive nearly all of the same health benefits in boiled eggs. So if you require those raw eggs for something, be sure you take them after they’re pasteurized. And when it comes to holiday planning, go for making vegan eggnog instead—or catch an egg-free version at the neighborhood store instead.

Benefits of Raw Eggs

Eggs, in general, had come a long way from the days when people were convinced they caused heart problems and high cholesterol. Eggs have a lot of health benefits:

  1. Eggs Are Rich in Healthy Fats: You need not be a ketogenic diet fan to know that eggs—cooked or raw —are an excellent source of healthy fats, which help you stay satisfied and full for prolonged periods. They even inherently contain a little quantity of omega-3 fatty acids (you know, the stuff that’s great for your heart and brain strength), with fortified eggs containing loads of the nutrient.
  1. Eggs Are High in Protein: Raw eggs have 6 grams of protein, just like in a boiled egg. Not only is protein a vital energy source, but it will help you feel full longer, too. However, remember that research found that the protein in raw eggs is less bioavailable (aka less readily absorbed) by the body than the protein in boiled eggs.
  1. The Yolks Are Loaded With Vitamins A, B, D, E, and K: Egg yolks are very concentrated in nutrients—both when uncooked and cooked. It’s got iron for healthy blood flow, calcium for strong bones, and a variety of vitamins to support your nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems. And these nutrients don’t exist beyond the yolk (so, don’t just consume the whites).
  1. Eggs Help Protect Against Heart Disease: Eggs—whether eaten raw or cooked—are right for your heart thanks to their phospholipids, which are associated with reducing inflammation and helping protect against heart problems. The yolks, in specific, are rich in choline, a nutrient that supports brain and heart health.

Raw Eggs Nutrition

Raw Egg Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA, every large raw egg (usually over 50 grams) has the equivalent of 72 calories. Eggs are well known for being excellent sources of protein for ovo-lacto vegetarians, with 6.3 grams of protein per large egg. Every egg also contains 4.8 grams of fat and 0.4 grams of carbohydrates, most of which are derived from healthy unsaturated fats in the form of omega fatty acids.

Every large egg also contains about 12 different micronutrients. These include:

  • 9 % of the daily value (DV) for vitamin A
  • 18 % of the DV for riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • 15 % of the DV for vitamin B5
  • 5 % of the DV for vitamin B6
  • 6 % of the DV for folic acid (vitamin B9)
  • 19 % of the DV for vitamin B12
  • 5 % of the DV for vitamin D
  • 27 % of the DV for choline
  • 5 % of the DV for iron
  • 8 % of the DV for phosphorus
  • 28 %of the DV for selenium
  • 6 % of the DV for zinc

Eggs also contain other nutrients like carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), antioxidants, and small amounts (between one and four percent) of other vitamins and minerals ⁠— calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, B-complex vitamins and vitamin E.

Are Raw Eggs Good for You?

Here’s the thing though: Raw eggs have very equivalent health benefits to boiled eggs. They share almost the same nutritional profile, same vitamins, same health perks, etc. And boiled eggs don’t come with the risk of salmonella.

Eggs can get infected by salmonella either because the hen that laid the egg was contaminated with the bacteria or because the egg was laid in a polluted place already containing salmonella. But cooking it to a temperature of around 160 degrees F (which happens through most cooking methods) will kill any lurking bacteria.

Contracting salmonella isn’t generally life-threatening, but it’s a severe condition that could cause diarrhea and sometimes requires hospitalization in more extreme cases. (And if you’ve ever contracted salmonella, you know it’s pathetic.)

While the chances of contracting salmonella from raw eggs are pretty less (about one in 20,000 eggs is believed to be contaminated), the USDA stresses that no one should consume foods prepared with raw eggs—especially pregnant women, infants, and anyone with a compromised immune system. The exception: If you’re preparing food that’s traditionally made with raw eggs(1) (like eggnog, sorry!), the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) prescribes eating pasteurized eggs, which have been treated to wipe out most bacteria in the egg(2).

Eating raw eggs has also been linked to biotin deficiencies. Biotin is a type of B vitamin and can bring significant beauty benefits, including healthier hair and nails. Raw egg whites have a protein called avidin, which binds to biotin and thus block absorption. (Cooked egg whites do not have avidin.) However, you’d have to take a lot of egg whites every day to become deficient, so that’s more of a secondary concern to the salmonella risk.

Drinking Raw Eggs

If you’re a big fan of drinking raw eggs or consuming other raw egg products, it’s essential to choose products that are safe from salmonella. Pasteurization is a common processing technique that’s done to a variety of different foods and beverages.

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